Facebook rolling out new location-sharing feature for iPhone called Nearby Friends

Facebook Nearby Friends

Facebook announced today it will be rolling out a new social feature to its mobile app called Nearby Friends. The feature allows Facebook users to occasionally receive notifications when common friends are in similar locations similar to features offered by Foursquare and Apple’s Find My Friends service.

If you turn on Nearby Friends, you’ll occasionally be notified when friends are nearby, so you can get in touch with them and meet up. For example, when you’re headed to the movies, Nearby Friends will let you know if friends are nearby so you can see the movie together or meet up afterward.

Author Ad Placeholder
Will only appear on redesign env.

In its announcement, Facebook emphasizes that the location sharing feature is opt-in meaning users will have to actively decide to turn on the feature rather than the social network flipping the feature on for everyone.

Nearby Friends also supports the ability to manage which groups of friends the features recognizes, and you can disable the feature at any point of course.

Similar to Apple’s Find My Friends app, Facebook’s Nearby Friends service offers granular controls for sharing precise locations for a set duration. Unlike Find My Friends, it’s cross-platform.

Facebook says its opt-in feature will be rolling out to users in its existing iPhone app “over the coming weeks”.


FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel


  1. A new feature? How’s that? It’s an old feature!!
    I get notifications from Facebook app when my friends check-in nearby!!

  2. thejuanald - 9 years ago

    That could be kind of creepy. It may randomly catch cheating spouses or acquaintances that are trying to avoid that “weird guy nobody likes”.

    • Zac Hall - 9 years ago

      haha, I recall similar stories with Find My iPhone and Find My Friends

  3. Tharindu - 9 years ago

    This could be the reason why facebook apps are draining up the batter like crazy when location services are enabled!

  4. Annnnnnnnd it’s time to trim that FB Friends list! You know… those friend request that you ‘just accepted’ without really knowing who they are. Wait… and all those small business owners that promoted on their personal FB page as vs making a FB page for your business and promoting on it. Yeahhhhhh… All those people you accepted because, “I’m trying to grow my business”…

    This is surely going to bring about a change in how people interact with FB.

    • inquiblog - 9 years ago

      No. U can just select which list of friends you want to be active in this feature. So u can select the important ones. Or if you do not activate it, it will do nothing. Like now.

  5. Another creepy Facebook feature. And SO original! Let me guess, they track you unless you dig through 4 menus, 3 sub menus and 8 check boxes while hopping on one foot to opt out.

    This company just strikes me as sleazy and untrustworthy.

    • Then they sell your locations to stores you walk by.

      • ifunography - 9 years ago

        I share your general sentiment toward Facebook.

        Good thing I don’t grant Facebook apps access to location services on my devices.

  6. Kevin (@SystB) - 9 years ago

    So as a University student I will get multiple notifications every day unless i turn it off when I arrive at Uni?

    • inquiblog - 9 years ago

      Just exclude the University group from the feature. People, Did you read the article?

      • Kevin (@SystB) - 9 years ago

        Yes I did. But I have understood it correctly that if I exclude University group, then I won’t see my Uni friends when they are for example at cinema?

      • Kevin (@SystB) - 9 years ago

        There should also be an option to exclude locations?

    • inquiblog - 9 years ago

      Your problem would be popular, for example, 10 friends coming to a meeting will pull the alert 9 times for everybody? would be annoying, but they may have a way to learn the “unwanted” place so it’s deactivated, A simple “ignore this place” next time, for friends alert would work.

  7. Treffn (@treffnapp) - 9 years ago

    Great Idea, lets see how smart the algo is…but how do you set up a meeting then after fb splits off the messenger?

  8. Max Anders - 9 years ago

    This idea is almost identical to an app in development at UW Madison, check it out… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAEJ7kWlW08

  9. jprebel (@betonkever) - 9 years ago

    For an ad-hoc IRL meet I prefer Showup.

    After 2 weeks in the appstore it doesn’t have FB’s coverage but it is more adventurous; it asks for 15 minutes of apprehensive optimism to see how many, if any will Showup to catch your frisbee, hear your poem, burn a flag, share a latte, flashmob, whatever and after that it is auto-deleted from phones & server.

    Also there’s no signup through FB/Twit/etc so as to ensure a degree of privacy.



Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.